Thursday, May 10, 2012

Personal Irresponsibility in Red States: Healthcare Implications

Ms. Mary Brown, the Florida woman who first brought suit against "the individual mandate" dropped her suit when dire illness could only be treated through government-sponsored medical care. 

Overnight, the poster girl for the vilification of Obamacare became prima facie evidence in support of Obamacare.

Although unpaid healthcare bills are America's leading cause of bankruptcy, I cannot locate a single web reference to the total cost of unpaid healthcare bills. 

Presumably, unpaid bills amount to many billions every year. This is a real cost with real economic impact -- and as far as I can determine, a cost that goes unreported. 

Think about it. If you were a medical service provider, would you want to get stiffed? 

And if you did get stiffed, would you pass along those costs to other clients?

Precise determination of this total dollar amount would help determine the real cost of care in America and the real impact of personal inability (and personal irresponsibility) in hiking healthcare cost for those who are insured. 

People who resist government health intervention claim it imposes "collective will" in domains where personal responsibility is an inalienable right.

I agree.

In theory, individuals "should" be responsible. And whenever the high ideal of personal responsibility is discharged, government should damn well keep its nose out of other people's business. 

Lamentably, Americans epitomize irresponsibility. We indulge deadly eating habits, consume ungodly amounts of alcohol, sit on our asses night and day and abuse tobacco by smoking it, chewing it and sniffing it. 

Notably, personal irresponsibility is particularly prevalent in red states where individual attention to health maintenance is markedly less than elsewhere in the country.  /// (I hypothesize that "Bible Belters" play loose with personal responsibility because they presume miracles wrought by their providential God. This displacement of "personal responsibility" by "divine responsibility" persuades "believers" that God will take care of them "by faith alone." The mechanism is identical to Bible Belters' belief that God will take care of all issues that might require collective responsibility such as global warming.)

Whenever individual irresponsibility imposes collective expense, government has three choices: 1.) refuse healthcare to those who are irresponsible, 2.) raise taxes to cover the healthcare costs of irresponsible people, 3.) modify individual health behavior through taxation and regulation.

Number 1 plays out like this. 

Americans regularly champion "personal responsibility" as a "cover" for personal indulgence so that once again license is mistaken for liberty.

In the minds of the religiously misbegotten, it "The Ideal" alone that matters, And so, the perpetual Parade of Perfection salves their public conscience while in their personal lives they tolerate any damn thing.

The upshot is this: Very often, bible-bangers are nasty people who condsider the public proclamation of "perfection" their "only" social obligation.  (Consider the following videotape of Southern Judge William Adams' whipping his physically handicapped daughter, Hillary.

"The terrible thing about our time is precisely the ease with which theories can be put into practice.  The more perfect, the more idealistic the theories, the more dreadful is their realization.  We are at last beginning to rediscover what perhaps men knew better in very ancient times, in primitive times before utopias were thought of: that liberty is bound up with imperfection, and that limitations, imperfections, errors are not only unavoidable but also salutary. The best is not the ideal.  Where what is theoretically best is imposed on everyone as the norm, then there is no longer any room even to be good.  The best, imposed as a norm, becomes evil.”  Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander by Thomas Merton -

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